The Voices of Hope choir comprises people affected by homelessness and The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Service support staff, and they are all proud to represent charity at the Royal Albert Hall. In addition to singing some popular new numbers, the choir will use the opportunity to kick off the Christmas season as part of The Salvation Army’s annual carol concert.
The choir, which has been singing together for nearly a year, was started by homelessness service manager Helen Murdoch. Murdoch was inspired at a team training event that highlighted singing’s numerous benefits, particularly its ability to bring people together, to give them a place of belonging, and to build confidence.
The young choir has already distinguished itself at the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Royal Albert Hall is going to be the cherry on this year’s Christmas cake.
Singing works wonders
The idea that singing builds confidence is borne out by Nassar, who was saved from homelessness by The Salvation Army in Glasgow. Nassar said, “Being part of the choir has been a blessing. I first performed with them at Christmas last year and since then my confidence as a singer and a person has improved massively.
“When I first came to Scotland I had nowhere to live. Thankfully I found a home with The Salvation Army. I’m looking forward to performing with the choir at the Royal Albert Hall. It will be a privilege and an honour.”
In fact, Nassar has turned his life around to such a degree that he now works at a Salvation Army residential centre in Glasgow, helping other people experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives.
Helen Murdoch has worked in The Salvation Army’s Glasgow homelessness services for over 25 years. Her hope for the choir is to bring together people from different backgrounds and different areas of The Salvation Army. So far, she’s been successful.
Commenting on the choir, Helen said, “Our choir is made up of people experiencing homelessness and The Salvation Army staff and volunteers who support them. It’s a safe space where people can have fun and be themselves without worrying about being labelled or judged. The members of the choir chose the name Voices of Hope and they are really living up to it.”
Music specialist Bob Weir, who helped Helen get the choir going, said, “The Salvation Army’s history is steeped in music and we know that music and singing make people feel good. To see the progress of the choir over the past year has been incredible. People’s confidence and abilities have grown beyond our imagination… Everyone is excited now and looking forward to putting on a good performance.”